Vail’s Mountain Games: Steep Creek opener moved to Dowd Chute
2018 MOUNTAIN GAMES SCHEDULE
All events in Vail Village, unless otherwise indicated
Thursday, June 7
Oh Chute Kayak Challenge, Dowd Chute, 10 a.m. (replaces Steep Creek Championships at Homestake)
Friday, June 8
Mountain-biking Enduro, Eagle, 8 a.m.
BMX Double Points, Eagle, 2 p.m.
BMX Pro-Am, Eagle, 4 p.m.
Raft Cross, 4 p.m.
Apres 5K, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 9
Raft Sprint, 8 and 10 a.m.
Down-river kayak sprint, 8:30 a.m.
Stand-up paddle sprint, 10:30 a.m., and noon
Mountain bike races, 10:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
IFSC Climbing World Cup, 3 p.m.
Kayak freestyle rodeo, 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 10
Disc golf, 9 a.m.
Vail Pass time trial, 9:30 a.m.
Stand-up paddle cross, noon
Dogs, speed retrieve big air, 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Slackline competition, 3:30 p.m.
8-ball kayaking, 4 p.m.
VAIL — Omaha. Omaha.
The GoPro Mountain Games called an audible on Tuesday for its opening event, Thursday’s Steep Creek Championship. The elite kayaking race is being moved from Homestake Creek to Dowd Chute and being rechristened Oh Chute Kayak Challenge.
The Vail Valley Foundation, which runs the Mountain Games, made the decision because low-water levels up at Homestake would make for unfair racing conditions.
“The creek is still runnable, but those who are going first have a much higher flow (of water) and an unfair edge,” VVF spokesperson Tom Boyd said. “Whatever the (cubic feet per second) is, it goes down as the day goes on, so we’re moving it to Dowd Chute.”
Boyd added that a race at Dowd Chute is a throwback to the Mountain Games’ roots as a whitewater festival, where there would be the kayak rodeo on Gore Creek and a rafting race in Dowd Chute.
Homestake Creek’s water can be manipulated by releasing of dams of stored water, but that was a no-go given the low snow totals of last winter.
“It’s not advisable,” Boyd said. “There are many uses for water and we all love water recreation, but the Vail Valley Foundation felt that would not be a responsible use of water. Given the water levels, it could be better used in other ways.”
The new course for the Oh Chute Kayak Challenge will be announced sometime Wednesday.
What we do know is that there will be limited parking at the Forest Service station at Meadow Mountain. Spectators are encouraged to bike or walk to the event. No parking will be available at the event takeout.
Spectators will be able to view the race from the pedestrian bridge overlooking the Eagle River, above the confluence of Gore Creek and the Eagle River. Spectators will not be allowed on river left or river right of the Dowd Chute section of the run.
ON THE SUBJECT OF WATER
The VVF said that stand-up paddle, kayaking and raft competitions, as well as the cross events on Gore Creek set for the weekend are still a go. The question mark that remains the kayak freestyle competition, whose final is on Saturday at 4 p.m. The VVF says it’s doing everything it can to make it happen.
“We’re working on shaping the water a little better,” Boyd said. “We have whitewater guys trying to figure it out and they let us know what they think. We know we have people coming to compete with prize money on the line and that it’s not just another competition.”
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.